A Campaign Wants To Add Black And Brown To The Rainbow Flag

A new campaign has emerged with the goal of adding two new colors to the iconic rainbow flag.

The rainbow flag was initially designed by Gilbert Baker back in 1978. He orignally designed it to have eight colors, but hot pink and turquoise were hard dyes to find back then so they were removed.

Since then, the flag has had only six colors. Red to represent life, orange to represent healing, yellow to represent sunlight, green to represent nature, indigo to represent harmony, and violet to represent spirit.

But, groups in Philadelphia are looking to change that for the better.

The More Color, More Pride campaign is looking to add addition black and brown stripes to the flag in order to signify the inclusion of people of color who are often thought of as second in gay society.

The campaign's website says:

"To fuel this important conversation, we’ve expanded the colors of the flag to include black and brown. It may seem like a small step. But together we can make big strides toward a truly inclusive community,"



As for my thoughts:

In the gay community, we favor the muscular white male. That is just a fact. Look at the many pictures on this site as evidence.

As a gay, black male and as a writer for several gay websites, I am very aware of this reality. In addition, I am from the Philadelphia area, so I've seen firsthand the incidents of racism within Philly's gay community. 

As such, I understand the message and the goal of these Philadelphia groups who want to add to the flag's colors. 

That said, I just can't imagine changing the rainbow flag. The flag has had these six colors for nearly 50 years now. We've all grown used to seeing the flag as such. Its sacred in a way, and honestly adding those two colors looks weird to me.

That said, does that mean we can't ever change the flag?

For instance, the American flag is a symbol for the country, but its been changed before. In fact, its been changed 27 times. 

Why can't the rainbow flag change too?

The point of adding these brown and black stripes is to remind ourselves of something. To remind ourselves that the point of the flag in the first place is to fight against discrimination and exclusion.

I need more time to wrap my head around the whole concept, but I'm not totally against it.

I need time to adjust from the "weirdness" of seeing the addition of those extra two colors, but I'm not disgusted by it.

I need time to decide which way I feel about the matter, but that doesn't mean I'm not proud that these groups suggested it.

What about you?

Update: I mentioned something down in the comments below that I wanted to include in the actual post.

Where I would have gone differently than this campaign would be to just include one single stripe to represent the concept of inclusion. Then we wouldn't have to worry about adding colors for every race. (Though, maybe you could say Indigo's harmony counts for that).

15 thoughts on “A Campaign Wants To Add Black And Brown To The Rainbow Flag”

  1. I was in San Francisco when

    I was in San Francisco when the gay flag was created,and my understanding was that it was a symbol of unity for all in the gay community.  It was has nothing to do with race and never should. If you are a member of the LGBTQ then the flag includes you no matter what your race is. I remember the first time I flew the fag from  my house and put the flag sticker on my car I felt very much a part of an all inclusive community. The flag ment a great deal to me and still does and should never be used as a symbol of race, but rather a symbol of unity within hte LGBTQ.

  2. I agree that we need to be

    I agree that we need to be inclusive, but the rainbow, as a light broken into a spectrum of colors, already represents that. Aesthetically and philosophically, the current rainbow flag is a strong symbol. Now, if we could fly it alongside another flag, that had stripes in a rainbow of skin colors, that would be just as inclusive and make its own statement, and be just as beautiful.

  3. If there is a black stripe

    If there is a black stripe where's the white? If you are thinking about race, you are seeing the flag wrong imo

  4. Can we include stripes for

    Can we include stripes for veterans, mental illness, religion, political affiliation (its harder to be a gay republican, right?), people in poverty, people from Texas…. when I see the rainbow flag, I don't think about race. Plain and simple, the flag is about the broader sexuality…not race.


    houston is thinking about using different flags over the years to represent the sub cultures of th gay community… ie bears. THis is ludacris. Can we get a flag for twinks, PnP, that girl Stacey that experimented for 6 months in college?

  5. The addition of the brown and

    The addition of the brown and black turn a fine strong inclusive symbol into an aesthetic mess. The strength of the flag as it is — six color– is an exquisite and essential symbolic representation of Community.  In this case more would be less.  Leave it alone. 

  6. Add the additional colors.

    Add the additional colors. Issues of racism are as prevalent in gay circles as they are in non-gay circles. In many cities, gay bars and neighborhoods are segregated by race, let alone class. When these different groups do get together people of color and working class gay folks often report feeling uncomfortable with the lack of race and class diversity as they report being fetishized based on skin tone and classist assumptions. ​To counter some of these issues, many communities have organized their own pride events, e.g., Latin, Asian, Black Pride.

    See: https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2016/nov/24/no-asians-no-blacks-gay-people-racism

    See: http://www.advocate.com/current-issue/2016/4/28/why-black-pride-matters

    ​LGBTQ folks with disabilities are practically invisible in the gay community and their voices are infrequently included in the discussions about sexuality.

    See: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/mark-brennan-rosenberg/lgbts-living-with-disabil_b_3016564.html

    Adding additional colors will not erase implicit and explicit bias within the LGBTQ community; but it does offer an opportunity to be more aware of the those who may not be fully invited to the table.

    Just my two cents 


  7. Do not add any additional

    Do not add any additional colors.  This is getting ridiculous. Gay is gay. Not black, white, trans, lesbian. This current  flag represents all of the gay community

  8. Maybe I am wrong but I always

    Maybe I am wrong but I always thought (and I guess I still do) the rainbow flag was more about a person's sexuality and not their race/ethnic background. I see the flag representing all members of the LGBT community. Are there people within the community that don't believe the flag represents them ? Of course. So maybe its time to update what the colors mean or represent instead of adding more colors


    at the WASHINGTON DC EQUALITY MARCH TODAY I saw Playwright/Activist Larry Myers being interviewed by an African american NBC news guy who knew nothing of the NEW STRIPES!


    giving voice to the unheard and invisible


    his new play"tent city psychOmetry" illustrates his convictions

    it s abt gay homeless kids living on the streets 40% of hOmeless are LGBTQIA


    MYERS other new stagework is"silence = accomplices/chechnya secrets"


    the late PLAYWRIGHT EDWARD ALBEE endorsed MYERS SANCTUARY when he was writing abt PWAs


    so somebody has recognized the needs of the debased, thise seen reductively & dismissively

  10. Seriously, get life, so sick

    Seriously, get life, so sick of the racist crap. There is no white in the flag, it is not about race, it is about sexuality. Stop making everything about race

  11.  If the object of adding the

     If the object of adding the black and brown stripes is to be all inclusive to be all inclusive it will be causing the opposite affect now other groups will want different color stripe. Here is an example of what must be done . 

    As of this moment the colors red.orange, yellow, green, blue/indigo, violet do not represent any ethnic group.  But the color representing any ethnic group can be made out of these primary colors; thus these colors are all inclusive.  If we are going to add a color for each ethnicity to be all inclusive i.e. Native Americans will need to be a different brown than Mexicans; then we will also need to add a color for each inter-racial combination as well.  Then to be more inclusive we need to come up with colors for the different disabilities and the divisions within each group, i.e. paraplegic, quadriplegic, single amputee, double amputee, triple amputee, quadruple  amputee. 

    Between my parents and grand parents I am made up of 10 different ethnicities and I have PTSD.  What all inclusive color stripe would represent me? 


    • Goyo I get what you are

      Goyo I get what you are saying but Mexicans and Native Americans fall under the term black and brown people. No different shade needed. 

  12. The US flag was changed 27

    The US flag was changed 27 times as more states were added. It has always had the same basic design and the same colors so it is not a good comparison to the pride flag. As you point out in the article the colors of the pride flag represent emotions and spirits not racial colors. If we are going to ad black and brown then maybe we should ad white. And finally what is wrong with muscular white men carrying around the pride flag? Those muscular men don't own the flag and they have not abused it. They have not prevented brown and black people from using it.  

    • Hi Alan,

      Hi Alan,

      While I admit that the flag comparison isn't a perfect match, I still feel its worth mentioning. Neither designs are fundamentally changed but added to. The addition of stars can be compared to the addition of stripes. Stars representing the states and stripes representing factors of the gay community.

      Where I would have gone differently than this campaign would be to just include one single stripe to represent the concept of inclusion. Then we wouldn't have to worry about adding colors for every race. (Though, maybe you could say Indigo's harmony counts for that).

      And my muscular white men comment wasn't about the flag but about the community. The reason they want to update the flag is to remind us that gay society isn't just full of white men, and I understood what they meant.

      Hope all is well and that I answered all your thoughts,


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